The European Athletics Under-18 Championships have been cancelled in 2021 ©Getty Images

The 2021 European Athletics Under-18 Championships - due to take place in Rieti in Italy - have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scheduled for August 26 to 29, the event was initially supposed to take place in July last year before the pandemic caused its postponement until 2021.

This was to be to be the third edition of the competition, following its introduction in Georgia's capital Tbilisi in 2016.

European Athletics cited rising COVID-19 case numbers in many parts of Europe and the logistical challenges of hosting a major event for young athletes amid the pandemic as the reasoning for the cancellation.

The decision was taken jointly by the Rieti Organising Committee, the Municipality of Rieti, the Italian Athletics Federation (FIDAL) and European Athletics.

Győr hosted the second edition of the European Athletics Under-18 Championships in 2018 ©Getty Images
Győr hosted the second edition of the European Athletics Under-18 Championships in 2018 ©Getty Images

"We are of course very disappointed not to be able to offer a Championships for U18 athletes in 2021 but we want to thank the Rieti 2021 Organising Committee and the Italian Athletics Federation for their hard work in trying to put on this event in exceptionally challenging circumstances," European Athletics Interim President Dobromir Karamarinov said.

Following the first edition in Georgia, the 2018 European Athletics Under-18 Championships were held in Győr in Hungary.

"I am very disappointed that our under-18 athletes won't have the chance to compete at the European Athletics U18 Championships in Rieti at the end of August; a Championships that FIDAL and the Organising Committee prepared with great enthusiasm and which we tried to stage up until the last moment," said new FIDAL President Stefano Mei.

Jerusalem in Israel is due to host the next edition of the European Athletics Under-18 Championships from July 4 to 7 in 2022.